Beautiful. This is my baby.
I had to make SOMETHING immediately after I brought my baby home. First, I made tart dough. Then I stuck that in the freezer to use later in the week.
Then I made these chocolate crackle cookies from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food.
Ok, so at first, I was not happy with the outcome of these cookies; they were super cute but I felt like they were lacking something in taste, and I could not pinpoint what it was. At first, I thought maybe they were too rich?...or maybe the ground almonds, which my cousin mistook for coconut, gave these cookies a funky texture?
I mean, these cute little guys are made with only good things—dark chocolate, cognac (a variety of brandy), ground almonds…and they only have 3 tablespoons of butter! But, sadly, I was not that impressed. They are not necessarily bad, but I thought they were nothing worth swooning over.
So it has been a few days now and I figured I would give these cookies another shot. Well, actually I brought my friends a few samples to snack on and I was very afraid of what they would say, but to my surprise, yes, they were swooning: "Oh my, Stephanie! These taste like little petit fours, like chocolate truffles, like little baby cake bites!"
Really guys? Ok fine, I'll give them another taste. As I bit into a 4-day-old chocolate crackle cookie, yes, holy heck, these were sooooo yummy! My friends were right, these DO taste like a little truffle cake bite! A few days ago, I thought they were too rich. Now, I think they could be even richer!
I guess these cookies/petit fours/truffle bites taste better as they age. Make them, taste them, let them sit a few days, taste them again. Really, you will taste a difference!
I think next time I make these, I will futz with the recipe a bit...I definitely think that a few pinches of salt and some vanilla extract will benefit, as well as a bit of good quality cocoa powder. Adding in some coffee or experimenting with another kind of extract (mint...?) might be fun, too! Also, maybe next time I might nix the ground almonds and just use more flour? This is the beauty (or for some people, the stressor) about cooking and baking--nothing is ever constant!
Chocolate Crackle Cookies
From The Art of Simple Food
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Pulverize in a food processor:
1 cup almonds, toasted
2 Tablespoons sugar
Put them in a bowl, and combine with:
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Melt in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
3 Tablespoons butter
1 ½ Tablespoons brandy (I used cognac, and had a few sips for myself but boy, is that stuff STRONG!!)
Set the mixture aside off the heat. Whisk together:
2 eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
Continue whisking until the mixture forms a ribbon, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the melted chocolate and the almond and flour mixture. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours or until firm (I just chilled mine overnight).
Before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F. Fill a small bowl with:
Fill another small bowl with:
Sifted powdered sugar
Roll the cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Roll a few at a time in the granulated sugar to coat them, then roll them in the powdered sugar.
Set them on parchment-lined baking sheets 1 inch apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Midway through baking, rotate the baking sheets for even baking. When the cookies are done they will have cracks in their white shells and they will be firm on the edges, but still soft in the center. Do not overbake.